Fish Switcheroo Scam Exposed in Global Seafood Market
Environmental group Oceana launched a major research study to discover the traceability of fish from its source to point of consumption and found that approximately one third of seafood they studied was mislabeled.
The study, which took place during a two year period from 2010-2012 sampled over 1,200 fish from 21 states to find out if the species were properly labeled. The results showed that over 400 of the fish sampled were in fact not what the consumer thought they were purchasing. In sushi restaurants the rate of deception was almost 95%.
Legislators are now arguing for more regulation on traceability for all seafood consumed in the U.S. citing not only the fraud being committed against consumers, but also the health of oceanic fish species and delicate ocean ecosystems.
How could such widespread seafood fraud be possible? Most seafood categorization occurs on the docks with fisherman themselves deciding which species is which. DNA testing, or even selection by an expert in fish species identification is rarely if ever done. So, when vendors receive the product it has already been labeled for sale.
Regulatory agencies such as the FDA are hoping that targeting misidentification at the source will lead to better labeling in the future.
Nationwide study casts a wide net over seafood fraud